Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

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Monday, June 13, 2005

Hmm Dis I like!

Well, today is exactly a month since I landed in U.S, the "Land of Dreams" as one of my very good friends calls it (not my land of dreams, thank you very much :-p). So I thought why not have a post which talks about what I like/dislike about this place. Lets start with the dislikes so that I can leave what I like for last :-D


Dislike 1 - Cost of stuff:

Man!! Its a costly world. I know the dollar-to-rupee conversion plays a major part here but I can't help but crib about it. Can you blame me when a Rs. 20 coconut in India costs more than 3 times here? The cost at Walmart ranges b/w $1.5 to $1.7. If you are ready to compromise the quality, you can go for a $0.99 one in an Indian store, but believe me the quality sucks! Everything from a small peanut to huge furniture seems to cost a fortune. I know, I know that we also earn in dollars, but we don't earn in millions of dollars :-p It'll just take a bit more time to get adjusted. I have also stopped noting the price for stuff I really want, just so that my mind doesn't get boggled :-D

Dislike 2 - Sunset at 9 PM:

It drives me crazy!! The sun is high up in the sky at 8:30 in the night! Doesn't seem like night at all :-p Ok does it atleast rise late to compensate? Nope it promptly does so at 5:45 AM whether you want it to or not :-p

Dislike 3 - Restaurant food:

In one word - SAD!! No spice, no khaara, just bland-tasting stuff you just have to keep on munching to finish eating :-p Spice for these people implies salt and pepper! I have been to several restaurants so far and have eaten at various joints during our trip to Florida. U.S restaurants are NOT a place for vegetarians. Mexican and Italian restaurants are ok, Indian restaurants pretty good, but American is quite pathetic. If you ask for a burger with no meat, you know what you get? Its cheese and some veggies within 2 buns. No patti. If you get a vegetarian patti, its like eating a tyre (not that I have actually eaten a tyre but I have eaten a vegetarian patti :-p). People here seem to live on meat - they eat all sorts of meats and drink hell lot of cola. More than they drink water! I was really surprised at little kids aged less than 6 years being offered cola. Hello!! Cola's not very good for health, people!! And they seem to think salads compensate. Atleast are the salads eatable? Bland stuff again! But life certainly seems better for non-vegetarians here. Yet, I'm gonnu stick to vegetarianism though I am already tired of saying "no meat" at every eating joint :-p

Dislike 4 - Ulta (reverse) driving:

Oh God!! I'll never get over it!! The steering wheel at the left side of the car rather than the right. Driving on the right side of the road rather than left. Free right instead of free left. Why do Americans always have to do exactly the opposite of what the rest of the world does? :-p When I first landed in airport, Sri had come to pick me up. When he went to sit in the car, he obviously went to the left of the car. I almost shouted "Hey pal, that's my seat" :-D Till sometime back, it was almost a constant struggle to find my seat-belt because I'd always look for it on the wrong side. Whenever Sri would suddenly take a free right, I'd be scared out of my wits!! I am a bit used to it now. But doesn't mean I like it :-p Also, I tried my hand at driving here once. Thankfully, our car is an autogear! I dunno what I'd have done if the gears had been manual and had to be put by the right hand that too in the reverse order!!

Dislike 5 - Self help is best help policy:

Clean up the house, wash utensils, clothes, whatever you do, do it on your own! Yeah it does make me self-reliable, but hello!! Doesn't mean I have to like it ;-) Self-help is not out of choice. Its usually due to a cost factor. Labour is hell lot costly and household paid help come with a millionaires-only-tag :-D That reminds me, I still have to wash the utensils from today morning's breakfast :(

Dislike 6 - Wooden Houses:

Houses are made of wood here and not of brick and mortar!! Ok my house is strong. Ok it hasn't cracked anywhere yet. Ok its not easily breakable. But I'm still scared that

A strong wind will blow
and away my wooden house will go.
and craaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaash!!
It hasn't happened till now, I know
but who knows what's in store tomorrow?


That's about it for the dislikes. I still might have many but I think I've covered the major cribs. So lets head right on to the likes. I like zis part :)


Like 1 - State resort/recreation parks:

I love them!! I have already visited 3 parks till now for treks (Will be writing a lengthy picture-pretty blog on that :-D) and I'm just crazy about them. Unused land with forests/caves/river/lakes are all converted into state resort/recreation parks with hiking trails. There are also lodges/cottages and picnic areas created so that its convenient for those who want to camp and stay overnight. The main thing is each and every one of them I have been to till now are maintained very well. There are no charges for hiking, but obviously there are fees for lodging/using the resort facilities like swimming pools/golf courses etc. Special events/tours have fees as well. I basically liked this innovative way of protecting nature, but not restricting people from enjoying it :) Wish its done in India. I have trekked to quite a few spots there too. But its just a self-trek or a group trek. There are no hiking trails as such. It'd be great if such a system is implemented in India. There are so many forests being exploited mercilessly, anything remotely like this will probably save the ecosystem to a great extent and encourage more people to go back to nature :)

Like 2 - Huggggggggge Shopping Malls:

They are huggggggggge and they are awesome! Its really difficult to think of a thing that's not available in one of these malls. The Walmart near my home is something like the whole Jayanagar 4th block in Bangalore put under one roof :) The malls are very easy to get lost in, as Jerry Seinfeld puts it "When a man walks into a supermarket, its with a sense of purpose. But after 10 min you find the same man thinking 'What am I doing in this aisle? Why did I come here?'" :-D You get groceries, clothes, cosmetics, medicines and what not!! And you know what's even more amazing? There are supermarkets wholly dedicated to babies, pets, toys, bedrooms, bathrooms and even maternity!!! Nevertheless, totally cooooooooool :)

Like 3 - Fresh fruits, veggies, milk and curd:

There's no milkman pinging you in the early hours of the morning and making you swear. And, no, you don't have to ferment milk to get curd :-D Milk is available in cans, only problem being that its branded with an expiry date :-p Curd (or as these people say Yogurt) is so thick and again available in cartons. Only restriction being that you buy plain yogurt and not a flavoured one or you'll end up eating vanilla/strawberry/what-not-berry tasting curd :-D As for fruits, I just adore the variety of fresh fruits available - bananas, grapes, apples, pears, cherries, peaches, cantaloupes, wow!! Cost, again, should be scrupulously unnoticed and avoided at all cost :-D Vegetables are the same. You might not get some Indian veggies, which are easily available in the Indian store but whatever is available is really fresh and kept fresh. There are also frozen veggies available, but somehow I felt they are a bit too soggy for my liking. I did like the frozen chopped mixed veggies which means I don't have to look for veggies and chop them up when I am preparing pulav or any rice which requires mixed veggies. All in all, freshies me like :)

Like 4 - Strangers greeting each other:

I absolutely love the concept of 2 total strangers saying hello or smiling at each other. Everybody greets the other, no matter you know the other person or not. Say hello and you can forget the person ever existed or that you ever met him/her. But the gesture in itself is, I think, really nice :) Not very surprisingly, the case is not same with Indians living here. I have seen several Indians in the Indian store, but have never seen anyone greeting a Indian stranger or me for that matter. I guess its because we are a bit more reserved and I can't really complain as I have not greeted any Indians either {grins sheepishly}. Ought to cultivate this good habit :)

Like 5 - Traffic Rules:

Strange but true! I really like the traffic rules they have in place here and what's wonderful about it is that every driver follows the rules. Be it the speed limits, stop signs or signals. Everyone has to follow the rules! Ofcourse there's the "OR-ELSE" factor. If you break the rules, you are given a ticket and its like a "mera-baap-chor-he" tattoo on your arm :-D :)). I would like to mention some of the rules, which I think are really cool. You drive straight and nobody can cut across you. People who want to turn into a road have to first give way to the ones already on the road. Simple, but we Indians never do so in India (me too :-D Been there done that :-D). Also, I like how these people slow down at a siren - be it an ambulance, fire-engine or a police vehicle. Its a rule but they follow it!! And how pedestrians always come first :) If a person is walking across a road, even if there are 100s of vehicles on that road going at more than 50 miles per hour, the vehicles HAVE to stop/slow down for the person. Right now I'm a pedestrian, so I think the rule is cool. After sometime, once I get into driving, maybe it won't be that "cool" anymore :-D

Like 6 - Radio stations/Multiplexes/Planned Roads etc:

Last but not the least are miscellaneous things like radio stations, multiplex theatres and planned roads :) There are so many radio stations - rock, country, pop, rap, top 100s and so on, all English. Moreover, these stations unlike Indian ones, don't have city limits. Say, if you are crossing Kentucky border to Tennessee, then a Tennessee station immediately takes over! Super or what!! And as for the multiplex theatres, I have been to 2 till now. Watched "The longest yard" 2 weeks ago and "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" last week. Enjoyed both. The first one I had been to had only 8 theatres but the second one had more than 12!! And all are pretty big and not at all cramped :) More cool than this - NO intermissions :-D Only regret is there are no theatres in Lexington playing Hindi movies :( But you never know, there maybe one coming up soon :)

I also love the planned roads here. The freeways are exactly as they are named - free. That means absolutely no signals :-D The exit roads from the free ways are all flyovers planned in such a way that they join the roads they are supposed to join without any interruptions :) Also in between the lanes with traffic in opposite directions, there is enough space left for any future road extension requirements. Most of the roads have more that 2 lanes in each direction. Even road work happens without the whole road being closed. But the only sad thing is that Kentucky roads are not very smooth and there are dents here and there. According to Sri, these are the worst roads in the whole of U.S :-D But for a person coming from Bannerghatta road, this is way better ;-)


Ok, so I like all these. But what I like most of all about U.S, is that the person I like best lives here - my Sri. Hmmm all the other likes and dislikes become so, so, so negligible when compared to this major like ;-) :)


Amit retorted...

Nice Blog...Pretty much same my likes and dislikes or may be with any Indians likes and dislikes.

To get good Indian food u'll have to visit Desi restaurants..I bet you are going to like the food provided its being run by desi and caters to the need of desis.

Nice blog!

Deeps retorted...

Hey Amit :)

Not seen for a long time :) Guess you are busy :)

Yeah I can understand these are the likes and dislikes of Indians living here. We are all birds of a feather, especially when we are in a foreign country :))

Indian restaurants are pretty ok but again the masalas all seem like non-vegetarian :-p But those are the ones I really like so far, atleast you get to eat some amount of spice ;-)

Amit retorted...

Hi Deepthi,

Well right, am quite busy these days and not able to blog at all and neither was I able to read your blogs. We have impending delivery (code) and thats the reason not very active on the net.

Anyways good that u are well settled in this part of the world.

Man lag gaya tumhaara?

Deeps retorted...

"Man" was in my man here before I came here :-D

I still miss Bangalore a lot. It seems a lot lonlier here, but yeah, getting adjusted :)

Amit retorted...

:-) Smart reply.

Hmmmm Blore is good...Home town na, can somebody ever get over his home town?

Deeps retorted...

:) yup.